'Grinch' steals toys intended for patients at St. Joe's

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Apparently, the Grinch tried to steal Christmas away from pediatric patients at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

Thieves allegedly walked off with thousands of toys valued at $20,000 in October.

Empty boxes are all that's left in a storage unit that was once filled with toys for children with special medical needs at the Children's Rehabilitative Services (CRS) clinic at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.

Every year for the holidays, St. Joseph's youngest patients and their siblings are given a toy.

"Every year, Santa visits CRS to provide each patient with a toy," said Lori Takeuchi, child life coordinator at the clinic. "Many of our families find it difficult to visit with Santa out in the community due to respiratory viruses, cost and long lines, so CRS provides a safe and healthy environment for them to spend time with Santa."

The staff is worried that there may not be enough gifts for all of the patients. The hospital is now asking the community for help replenishing the stolen holiday gifts for these very special kids.

Members of the public wishing to donate toys or learn more about the donation guidelines for St. Joseph's children with special needs should call Ani Gurlekian at the St. Joseph's Foundation at 602-406-3041.

The Phoenix Police Department is investigating the theft.